From the beginning of America, formed as a representative republic, states rights has always been at the forefront of the discussion. The founders of our country intentionally created a weak federal government because they feared what an all-powerful central authority would be capable of. The powers that were not granted specifically to the federal government were left to the states, or to the people. The Tenth Amendment sets that in stone.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Taken from Wikipedia, this is what James Madison said when he introduced the Tenth Amendment in Congress.
I find, from looking into the amendments proposed by the State conventions, that several are particularly anxious that it should be declared in the Constitution, that the powers not therein delegated should be reserved to the several States. Perhaps words which may define this more precisely than the whole of the instrument now does, may be considered as superfluous. I admit they may be deemed unnecessary: but there can be no harm in making such a declaration, if gentlemen will allow that the fact is as stated. I am sure I understand it so, and do therefore propose it.
Clearly, there was concern that the federal government would grow beyond its intended design. Looking back at Madison’s statement, it almost sounds prophetic. The men who created our government had a deeply ingrained fear of a central government. Given their experiences with their former British masters, they had every right to hold that fear, and they took steps to limit the federal government of the United States.
Fast forward to modern America and you can barely recognize the power emanating from Washington for the limited government it is supposed to be. We could list an entire litany of federal departments that should not exist, yet there they are in, in all their glory, and they are in firm control of most of what happens in America. They dictate to the states and they states ask how far they need to jump. I contend that is not the way our country was designed to be governed. The states were supposed to reign supreme, with the federal government having a very limited role. Those roles are now reversed and it could never be more clearly defined than what is taking place in America as Obamacare is implemented, piece by piece.
Those of us who are of the conservative mindset were shaken to our core when the Supreme Court, namely Chief Justice John Roberts, decided to rule in favor of the health care mandate that is the heart of the legislation. He had to redefine it as a tax to make that ruling, but that didn’t seem to bother him. An even greater shaking occurred on November 6, when in spite of all the polls and the momentum that was swinging in Mitt Romney’s favor, he lost his bid to unseat President Obama. Between those two events, 2012 has not been a good year for conservatives. Or has it?
Don’t get me wrong, I completely disagree with the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. I certainly did not think President Obama would win a second term, but hope may not be totally lost. I believe the key to reshaping America to the country it used to be lies in the states. Think about it for a moment. Washington, D.C. seems far removed from most places in our country. Even if you live in Virginia, or some other state in the same region as Washington, the federal government seems out of reach. Even if a good man or woman is elected to Congress, many times they are co-opted by the powers that be in Washington and unless they play ball with the right people, they have little power to affect change.
It’s much different on the state level. Republicans now have control of a majority of state governments. They solidified that control on November 6. So while nothing really changed in Washington, with the power split remaining virtually the same, the Republicans are in firm control of 27 state legislatures and hold 29 governorships. The Republicans in those state legislatures and governor offices can and should control what goes on in their states. In my opinion, that is the key to stopping and turning back the onslaught of liberalism that is rampantly sweeping our nation.
In my home state of Oklahoma, registered Democrats actually outnumber registered Republicans, yet Republicans have control of our legislature and a Republican holds the governorship. When Obamacare was passed and it became common knowledge that the federal government was going to ask/require the states to set up insurance exchanges as part of the program, Oklahoma said they wanted no part of it. Now that the Roberts’ ruling on Obamacare made it optional to expand Medicaid, Governor Mary Fallin has no thanks to that as well. By my count, that makes 26 states who have informed the federal government they will have no part of the insurance exchange or the Medicaid expansion. The states have the power to do that and they are exercising that power.
Many things are handed down by the federal government as mandates, many of them unfunded. Many of the programs set up by the federal government are passed to the states for implementation, with federal dollars attached. The federal government uses those federal dollars as its big stick, forcing the states into compliance with the fear of losing money from Washington. Imagine, if you will, how much lower the federal debt and deficit would be, if the original framework was being followed. The states would not be subservient to the federal government and thus, would not be sending its money to Washington, to then be handed back with mandates attached. The big stick the federal government now wields would be cut off and rendered impotent. I believe it is past time for the states to exert themselves and take back the powers that were granted to them by the United States Constitution.
Going one step further, the relationship between the states, which were thought of as sovereign entities, and the federal government, was supposed to be a partnership. Some issues are clearly local and state issues and others are federal issues. If you read the Enumerated Powers, they all deal with federal issues. Local and state issues are not mentioned and thus, are left to the states to deal with. In our current generation, personal liberty and freedom would be much greater and under much less of a threat, if the partnership between the federal government and the states was working as it was designed. What we have instead is a federal government that tries to insert itself into every facet of our lives. That’s one reason I firmly believe the federal government has no rightful place in our education system, since it is clearly a local and state issue. The Department of Education budget amounted to $69.9 billion in 2011 and the Obama administration requested $77.4 billion in 2012. This is money being spent by the federal government on an issue that is not in their jurisdiction and it is only one department of the federal government. How many more examples could we list?
Keep in mind, the advance of liberalism did not happen overnight. It has taken place for decades, possibly even a generation. Pushing back that advance and allowing the states to return to their rightful place of power in our country will not happen overnight, but it is a necessary thing, if America is to survive with any resemblance of its former self. The original framework of our country has to be returned to and followed. There is no better place to start than at the local level. Little by little, we can gain control of more state legislatures. Little by little, the powers of the states can be returned to their rightful owners. Until that happens, we can not hope to defeat the liberalism that is destroying our country.